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How Lifestyle Influences Creativity

Creativity is innate in humans. If we look at it from an existential standpoint, our desire to create is the main reason we are compelled to live our lives the way we do. As a result, having a lifestyle that encourages our innate creativity is essential. But what does that mean? How does your lifestyle affect your creativity?

Do you ever find yourself yearning for a little bit more creativity in your life? It turns out that channeling your creative energy can actually benefit your overall health. Indulging in creative activities, even if they are as simple as coloring in adult coloring books, has been shown to boost brain function, emotional wellness, and physical health.

You’ve likely heard of the term “flow,” which refers to the state of being entirely immersed in something. Ever found yourself working on a project and losing track of time? That’s what flow is. It can help you feel less anxious, improve your mood, and even slow down your heart rate.

It’s not only being in the zone that makes you happy. Repetitive creative actions like knitting, drawing, or writing produce a creative result. Whenever you do something that produces a creative result, or to put it another way, whenever you create something, your brain is hardwired to release dopamine to motivate you to keep doing it. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that directly affects your behavior, even if you don’t realize it at the time.

Your brain sees it as achieving an important goal. And your brain is right. It’s our creativity that has helped us survive and thrive as a species. 

Physical Exercise

According to a Stanford study, people are more creative after engaging in physical activity. This is why many artists and other creatives incorporated sports into their daily routines. 

Physical exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel good and help you disconnect for a while so that you can work on creative projects afterward. It helps you reflect on your work, build resilience to stress and maintain a positive outlook, all of which contribute to your creativity.

This is not to say that you have to rush to the gym whenever you need to be more creative. While push-ups and sit-ups were effective for Kurt Vonnegut, you could also just go for a walk in the park. Charles Dickens, Ludwig van Beethoven, and John Muir all went for daily walks to stimulate their minds. Richard Branson takes it a step further by jogging. 

Routine 

Most creatives plan their daily routines, refuting the idea of geniuses leading wild and unstructured lives. This is because having a routine frees your mind so you can think about new and exciting possibilities. 

Stephen King and Haruki Murakami, two of the best-selling authors in the world, both follow a strict writing schedule. King doesn’t leave the table until he has written a thousand words and Murakami writes from 4 till 9 in the morning every day.

We’re not saying that you have to start planning every minute of your life. Just set aside 15-20 minutes every day for creative thinking. This is a good start. 

What matters more is finding your own rhythm. We’ve all been told that we’re more creative in the morning. While the working patterns of many artists appear to support this hypothesis, there is also a substantial body of data that reveals some of us aren’t wired this way. In other words, it appears that we really are all special in our own unique ways. 

Throughout history, there have been many artists who preferred to work late into the night, while others were firm believers in waking up early. 

Researchers developed the Morningness-Eveningness questionnaire (MEQ) in 1976 to measure an individual’s circadian rhythms. Although this series of 19 questions is now more than 30 years old, it can still be a great tool.

The Right Food at the Right Time

While we are all aware that eating good food makes us feel better, recent research indicates that the time you eat can have a significant impact on your wellbeing as well as your creativity. Yale School of Medicine researchers discovered a relationship between food intake and biological clocks.

They discovered ‘optimal’ eating times, implying that the body’s peripheral clocks found in cells are aligned with the brain’s central clock. Previous studies have shown that people increase their risk of developing obesity, diabetes, depression, and even cancer if they disrupt this natural rhythm by eating outside their optimal times. 

Yale researchers found that eating two meals a day may be the best way to synchronize our biological clocks. The researchers recommend eating breakfast and lunch but avoiding dinner if you are an early riser. If you’re a night owl, you can skip breakfast since lunch and dinner should be your primary meals.

As such, while eating the right food and supplementing with iron and liquid minerals is important, so is adapting your diet and lifestyle to your body’s natural rhythms.

Travel 

Traveling is a good way to broaden your horizons and boost your creativity. But it’s not enough to just visit other countries. You also need to take the time to learn about the culture, recognize variations in customs and traditions, and draw parallels to your own worldview.

Traveling has been shown to improve one’s flexibility and cognitive complexity. It’s no wonder why so many creatives find it inspiring. Spain and France influenced Ernest Hemingway, and Mark Twain traveled across the Mediterranean. Being exposed to new sounds, languages, tastes, smells, and sights stimulates your brain. 

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